Sunday, June 17, 2012

A pleasant surprise

After that rant in my last entry, I need to balance the scales and relate an experience that gave me a warm fuzzy feeling.

While waiting in the HSBC lobby, I could hear the various employees who were handling my transaction speaking with each other. They continually referred to me as 客人 "guest/customer." Not once did I hear myself referred to as 外國人 "foreigner" as is typical.

This is such an unusual occurrence that it deserved a positive blog entry.

alien arcLook, I know I'm a foreigner. I realize that I look different than 99% of the homogenous society here, and I understand that the easiest way to identify me in a crowd is to refer to me as a foreigner. But sometimes it grates on my nerves. It's as if that's the only way to describe me, as if that term sums up who I am. 

What about "That guy in the blue shirt" or "That man sitting near the window" or even "That handsome devil with the come-hither eyes"?

So, thank you HSBC employees, for recognizing that the big-nosed foreigner waiting in your lobby is more than a hirsute barbarian; he's a potential customer and fellow human being.


Shaomin said...

Like... I know this is not FB, but I really like it.

I'm constantly referred to as "coloured" or "Chinese" here in Scotland so I feel your pain when all people see is how physically different you are.

Steve said...

@Shaomin: Thanks for your comment.

Fortunately in Taiwan, when I hear "foreigner" to describe me, I think in 99% of the cases it's just a description with no negative feelings associated with it.

Is it the same in Scotland for you, or are there negative undertones in what they say? Hopefully not.